Athcarne Castle and the ghosts of the battlefields

Athcarne Castle and the ghosts of the battlefields
24 April 2024 J.W.H

Many battles took place near Athcarne Castle and the encircling area. From the ruins of the once great castle, people claim to see strange silhouettes and listen to the sounds of fallen soldiers.

The ruins of Athcarne Castle, situated in a picturesque setting near Duleek in County Meath, Ireland, are shrouded in mystery surrounding this Elizabethan relic. Built in 1590 by the skillful hand of William Bathe, the castle was to take a turbulent journey through time, evolving and reworking before falling into abandonment and decay.

The name Athcarne might be derived from the word 'Áth Cairn' meaning Broding Point by a cairn or barrow, or 'Ard Cairn' meaning High Mound. Adjacent to the castle is a burial mound situated to the south-east, across the River Hurley. It is feasible that the castle was built on top of the mound. A cairn is a pile of stones stacked on top of one another, often to mark a burial site. These mounds, roughly 4,000 years old, could have been subjected to Viking raids in AD 861, just like the raid on Newgrange.

Athcarne Castle, with its impressive façade, was once a logo of power and prestige within the Irish landscape. It served as a residence for the builders and their descendants and underwent significant reconstruction in 1830. However, within the mid-Twentieth century, the castle's once magnificent partitions collapsed, transforming it right into a disturbing remnant of its former glory.

Today he was left alone with an indication telling people: “Danger must be kept away” surrounded by fences, although people have still managed to slide through them.

The Phantom of King James II

James II: (1633-1701) He was the last Catholic monarch. His reign is now remembered for conflicts over religious tolerance, struggles over the principles of absolutism and the divine rights of kings.

Visitors to Athcarne Castle report disturbing encounters that transcend the bounds of odd history. The figures visible within the castle windows create a sense of unease, as if the ghostly inhabitants of the castle were at all times vigilant. An aura of unwelcome presence has settled over the ruins, leaving many who dare to explore with a chilling feeling of getting entered ghostly territory.

One enduring legend connects the castle with a historical figure of great importance – King James II. It is claimed that King James II once laid claim to Athcarne Castle and sought refuge inside its partitions in 1690 while on his approach to the crucial Battle of the Boyne.

The Battle of the Boyne, which took place in 1690, was a major conflict between the deposed King James II, who was deposed, and King William III, who ascended the thrones of England and Scotland with Queen Mary II in 1689. The Battle this took place near the River Boyne, near Drogheda.

Ultimately, William emerged victorious, thwarting James's try and regain the British crown and contributing to the continued Protestant domination of Ireland. This key battle took place on July 1, 1690 (old style) and ended with William's conquer James' relatively inexperienced army. Although the Williamite War in Ireland continued until the Treaty of Limerick in October 1691, James fled to France after the Battle of the Boyne and never returned.

Visitors report glimpses of the ghostly king, standing in silent contemplation and seemingly combating the memory of his shocking defeat on the battlefield.

Guardian of Irish freedom

According to local legend, a fierce battle took place on the Hill of Tara between Irish and English forces. An Irish warrior, determined to guard his homeland, hid in a haystack near Athcarne Castle. As the enemy approached, he fired a volley of shots, but his ammunition proved insufficient. In a desperate escape, he fell victim to the flames that consumed his hideout, and met his end within the very place he was defending.

In the place of his fall, a thistle grew as nature's tribute to his courage, and his spirit guarded this sacred ground every night. The steadfast guardian vowed to not rest until the land of Ireland was free.

Ghostly echoes of battle

Terrifying screams and mournful moans echoed through the castle's silent chambers, haunting the stays of the wounded soldiers who met their tragic end here.

The apparition of a soldier hanging from an oak tree near the castle casts a ghostly shadow over the encircling area, serving as a poignant reminder of past conflicts. It shouldn’t be certain whether this is identical Irish warrior as within the second legend. But these two legends show what number of battles this area fought under different kings.

The troubled specter of a young girl

However, there are ghost stories from the castle ruins that don’t have anything to do with soldiers or kings. A young girl appears among the many haunted inhabitants of the castle. Witnesses describe her as distressed, with blood on her hands.

It was certainly one of the workers who told this story and described it as: “The demented girl with bloody hands.”

The circumstances of her premature death remain shrouded in mystery, forsaking a mystery that continues to captivate the imagination of those that encounter her ghostly presence.

The Haunting of Athcarne Castle

Athcarne Castle, with its wealthy history and ghostly history, is a testament to the enduring mysteries of the past. Amid crumbling stones and whispered legends, echoes of Elizabethan intrigue and haunted ghosts beckon those that dare to explore its storied ruins. Here, history and myth converge, inviting us to achieve insight into the mysterious and ghostly past of Athcarne Castle.


Featured Image: Attribution: Kieran Campbell/Wikimedia Commons

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  • J.W.H

    About John:

    John Williams is a Reincarnationist paranormal Intuitive freelance writer...he is living proof of reincarnation existence, through his personal exploration, he has confirmed its authenticity through visits to the very lands where these events transpired.

    Through guided meditation/s using hemi-sync technology he has managed to recollect 3 previous lives to his own, that go back to the Mid to Late 19th century.

    JWH - "You are the GODS! - Inclusion of the Eternal Light of Love and you shall never die”.

    “Death is Just the Beginning of Life”